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What are Adélie penguins like?

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Quick Answer

Adélie penguins, native to the Antarctic continent and its surrounding coastal islands, are classified as the smallest of the Antarctic penguins, weighing an average of 8 to 13 pounds and growing to a height of 30 inches. Adélie penguins feed mainly on shrimp and krill, but also eat fish.

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Full Answer

When hunting, Adélie penguins have the ability to dive as deep as 575 feet underwater in search of prey. They are extremely powerful swimmers and have been documented swimming 185 miles round-trip to find a meal. They are identifiable by the white rings around their eyes, their red beaks with a black tip, and a tail that is longer than the tails of most other penguin species. Adélie penguins are highly sociable animals and live in large colonies with thousands of other penguins. They are less sociable during breeding season, which takes place in October, when the colonies move towards the rocky coastline of Antarctica to begin nesting. During this time, the penguins sometimes behave aggressively towards each other, even stealing each other's nests.

Once the nests are built and eggs are laid, the male and female penguins take turns sitting on them to protect them from predators and the cold weather until the babies hatch.

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